Websites + Sounds = Bad, Bad, Bad

Today I got reminded about a good lesson that sounds on websites can be pretty annoying. Especially if the sound is launched automatically. I suppose some Flash sites might use sound and music, but even them should have some sort of mute button or make sure it doesn’t annoy people. You have to have a site where people expect to hear sounds and listen to music, otherwise it’s probably not such a good move to put sound on your site.

Yesterday I attached a multimedia player to GameProducer.net, and today I read comments that some people didn’t like playing sound without warnings (and to be honest: I’d hate that too, but for some reason I just didn’t see this coming). Sorry folks, and sorry for everybody reading this via syndicated feeds – now the sound doesn’t play anymore.

Websites and sounds don’t mix up well (excluding cases when doing promotions or having some multimedia sites where people expect to hear sounds and music). Thanks Kyle bringing this up, and thanks for David for eliminating the sound from the multimedia player’s intro screen.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. If the user/visitor didn’t ask for it, don’t give it to them and definitely don’t force it on them. You will anger some users and some users will be too stupid to be angry (and will just loathe through your crappy site unknowingly). This applies to all media.

  2. Yeah it’s not useful when the information is presented in a text form. People want to read without distractions.

  3. I think sound on a site can be beneficial sometimes. For example, the site for the adv. game Once Upon a Time in Japan features a nice animated Flash page(in the style of the game and both real world daytime and nighttime versions) and sound fx and music like those that will be featured in the title. I think it would not be as strong as a site if the sounds were missing. Of course, it has a mute feature, too:


  4. @Kal_Torak: I was actually putting a media player on the site… not the sound. It just came along… which the developers then eliminated.

  5. Wow, I’m very surprised that you even dreamed of putting sound on your site. It’s a no brainer. You just don’t do it unless you’re myspace.

  6. I checked back today to see if by chance the sound was removed. And lo and behold it was. Thanks for the quick response, now I can continue to get my daily fix. And thanks mentioning what is potentially one of the biggest annoyances when web surfing. All you aspiring Indies out there, unsolicited/unexpected sound may make your website “cool” or “attention grabbing” but it’s also likely to drive off potential customers.

  7. Oh, yes this is really annoying thing to do. I also use Tabbed browsing intensively, opening something like 10 tabs in a row – now imagine how its sounds when some of them are playing audio automatically ;)

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